I saw this image on the new Getty Images for Free site. As soon as I saw it, I thought ‘this is how I feel sometimes’. I, along with my sister stepmoms, feel as if we are on the outside looking in. No matter how hard we knock on the glass, we can’t penetrate it. Then, we feel as if we are swimming around and around and around in circles. Same issues. Same behaviors. Same thoughts in our heads.
Then, I looked at the image again. That fish on the right has more room. More breathing space. More room to think. He is not going with the crowd. He may be in a better position than that crowded bowl on the left. Maybe, we are in a better position as well. It may be better to:
- Live in your own bowl.
Our world or ‘bowl’ can be anything that we want it to be. Often, when you truly examine your thoughts and feelings, they are sourced from our childhood or stories that we have been told. Words are given meanings by old myths and the emotions that we attach to them. Our concept of what are role is or should be is shaped by the same influences. Myths. Fables. Stories. Childhood perceptions of what happened in our lives.
We have the power to create our own world: one where we define the way we want to live and what other people’s actions mean or DON’T MEAN. We can choose how we want to behave. We can choose how much work we want to do. We can choose. We can build our own bowls. We can fill it with natural, spring water. We can swim on our backs or on our sides or just relax. Most importantly, we can watch from the sidelines: looking in with great compassion for the school of fish, but not participating in their games or their group travels.
- Don’t knock on the glass.
You can’t force family relationships. The more you strain to become a full fledged member of the group, the more you will be rejected. Knocking on the glass will only create chaos. The fish will freak out. They will swim in all directions and glare at you for disrupting their world. The lesson for any stepmom is to leave that crowded bowl alone. Live your own life. Some of the fish may choose to join you, but it will be their choice. They will want to join you in the sea worthy life you have created. You are a free fish.
- Swim upstream.
The image of swimming upstream is one of hard work. You work and work, but always seem to end up in the same place. You don’t seem to make progress. But, then there is the other side of the story. When you are swimming upstream, you get strong. You become ‘buff’. Your muscles grow and you become tougher. When others wonder, why would a woman choose to be a stepmom? You can explain that you are ‘working out’. You want to become emotionally strong and be focused on the important things in life. You see, when you are swimming upstream, you are determined. You may even get spiritually and emotionally strong.
Who knew that being on the outside looking in could be so great?!